Tianjin West Railway Station was completed earlier this month and now serves as an important stop along the high speed rail line between Shanghai and Beijing. The 24-platform station connects regional lines to the high speed network and joins a commercial area to the north with the old city center to the south, bridging the gap across the tracks. Designed by gmp Architekten, Tianjin West Railway Station features a 400-meter-long barrel vault roof that rises over the terminal concourse, soaking up the sun to create an invigorating and naturally daylit space below.
gmp Architekten won the station’s design competition back in 2007 and then commenced on construction, which lasted 2 1/2 years in 2008. The new station is a contemporary interpretation of the cathedral-like stations that were popular back when rail travel was in its heyday. The roughly square volume features 24 platforms that run parallel with the train tracks and then a large concourse on top runs perpendicular to easily access the trains below. The concourse is a striking space covered in a vaulted ceiling of diamond-shaped steel and glass roof construction. The upper portion filters light to protect against direct solar radiation, while the bottom side are made of nearly transparent glass to let in more light. Daylighting also plays an important role over the covered platform areas, providing a high quality atmosphere and clear orientation for travelers.
People can access the station via large public plazas on the north and the south or through cantilevered arched portals. The dramatic plazas and entrances convey the scale and importance of the building for travelers. Upon entering, travelers are greeted with a cavernous space, clean lines, elegant finishes and modern kiosks with travel information displays. Lifts and escalators efficiently transport passengers from the concourse down to the platforms. The sustainably built train station is a critical crossroads for China’s high speed network and serves as an important urban development project for the city of Tianjin.
Images ©Christian Gahl